Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with James Kemp
By Brian Jackson, Updated: June 19, 2017
Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
In 2009 I got a job at a web design agency in Leicestershire, UK. WordPress had just begun filtering its way into the company and it wasn’t long before I started building websites using it. It was like nothing I’d used before; so simple to build themes (compared to Magento, which was our go to CMS/eCommerce solution at the time), plus, intuitive to manage as an admin user. I was hooked.
I soon became one of the go to employees for all things WordPress, including running a couple of workshops for the company and its employees.
As I mentioned, we were big advocates of Magento. This led to me creating my first WordPress plugin; a Magento WordPress integration. I eventually monetised that project and sold it off to another developer.
Q2: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?
Over time, it became clear that WooCommerce was going to be huge. I’d built a number of sites using the platform, and also created a few bespoke plugins. Eventually, I decided to release some of the plugins I was making as premium plugins on the Envato marketplace.
In early 2016, Iconic (https://iconicwp.com) was officially formed. Under the Iconic brand, I produce a number of popular free and premium WooCommerce plugins. My most popular plugins include WooThumbs for adding additional variation images to your products, as well as an enhanced gallery experience, Show Single Variations for displaying single product variations in your catalog listings, and WooCommerce Delivery Slots for enabling your customers to select specific times for their delivery.
Q3: What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?
I now work on Iconic pretty much full time. The hardest part about getting to that stage was balancing time between my full-time job, plugin updates, plugin support, and spending time with my family. Now that I am spending my working hours on Iconic, the balance has become much easier to manage.
Q4: Has anything surprised you while coming up in the WordPress world?
I’m sure everyone says it, but I’m always pleasantly surprised at how helpful the WordPress community can be. There are so many quality developers and WordPress users who just love to help in whatever way they can. Vova Feldman has been so helpful to me during my transition to selling plugins through my own site. Be sure to check out his Freemius software.
Q5: What does the future look like for you in the WordPress world?
I plan to keep releasing awesome new features for my plugins. I also have a completely new plugin idea, not related to WooCommerce, which I will be working on as soon as I find the time. Ultimately, my focus will be on products, rather than websites.
Q6: What do you look for in a WordPress host?
When I do host WordPress websites, the key things I look out for are: regular backups, improved security, staging areas, and git compatibility.
Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?
What do you mean, “away from your laptop”? Joking. I enjoy photography (https://creativemarket.com/
Q8: Whom should we interview next & why?
I always like to hear from Pippin Williamson as he has done very well in the WordPress space. I’d also be interested in hearing from any other plugin authors who started on Envato but have since moved away to sell via their own website.